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 In recent years the incidence of thyroid cancer has progressively increased and is now the eighth most commonly diagnosed tumor in women, who have three times the probability of suffering the disease than men. Surgery is the chosen, most effective treatment option, but patients do not welcome the idea of having a scar at the base of the throat. Aware of the importance of carrying out minimally invasive procedures, MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid has started applying the new MIVAT (Minimally Invasive Video-Assisted Thyroidectomy) technique in patients with thyroid cancer.

This new technique, revolutionary in Spain, allows the procedure to be carried out through a small 1.5 – 2 cm incision and is controlled endoscopically. The procedure, by means of magnified and the most close-up images of the endoscope, allows more accurate dissection of the thyroid, facilitates identification of the parathyroid glands and of the recurrent nerves, and of their common anatomical anomalies, preserving them from possible lesions thanks to the endoscopic control. The technique is indicated in selected cases of benign and malignant thyroid disease and in parathyroid surgery.

“The MIVAT technique, adopted at MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid, represents a great advance in the treatment of thyroid tumors, as it reduces the risk of developing hypocalcemia as a result of microvascularization lesions or accidental resection of the parathyroid glands, the possibility of recurrent nerve paralysis due to a lesion with dysphonia and even glottic airway obstruction in bilateral cases, and also reduces the often keloidal scar tissue at the base of the throat”, explains Dr. Rafael Barbera, of the MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid Head and Neck Unit.

In the words of the specialist, “the success of a cancer treatment lies in having a multidisciplinary team whose foundation is made up of an oncologist, a surgeon and an endocrinologist whose work is coordinated to analyze, from the many ways to approach cancer, the best treatment for each patient”. Furthermore, Dr. Barbera points out the importance of early diagnosis of the disease and the team being supported by other experienced specialists in the disease in the field of anatomic pathology, radiology and nuclear medicine.

And that “this disease, detected in time and correctly treated, is curable in most cases. Thanks to this new surgical technique, patients are submitted to a less aggressive procedure than before”, points out the MD Anderson Cancer Center Madrid specialist.

After surgery, the result of studies carried out on the resected tumor will show whether there is a need for radioactive iodine therapy and hormone suppression. In cases of disseminated disease, a genetic and molecular study will determine the type of drugs best suited to treating the disease.